Tuesday, June 29

Col. David Hackworth has Finally Seen Enough

The good colonel finally hands in his verdict on the Iraq adventure. Guilty, guilty, guilty.

Sack 'Em and Rack 'Em
By David H. Hackworth

America would be a whole lot safer if the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Richard Myers, was flying for Virgin Airlines, and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was competing on "Survivor." Both war leaders have done so miserable a job honchoing the military side of our critical conflict against global terrorism, and in the process so jeopardized our national security, that they should be sacked for dereliction of duty.

Contrary to continuing political spin, Iraq and Afghanistan both are running sores with little promise of even a long-term turnaround, and our world today is far more dangerous than it was before 9/11. Unless there's a 180-degree change in overall strategy, the USA is doomed to follow the same bloody path through these two brutal killing fields that the Soviet Union took in Afghanistan.

The mighty sword that Rumsfeld and Myers inherited four years ago - the finest military force in the world - is now chipped and dulled. And the word is that it will take at least a decade to get our overextended, bone-tired soldiers and Marines and their worn-out gear back in shape.[...]

Space doesn't allow for the long laundry list of what went wrong after the Iraqi army was predictably defeated by a brilliant "Wham, Bam, Goodbye Saddam" air-and-ground attack and the present occupation phase kicked off. But the key screw-ups are:

* Our ground units went in far too light. They didn't have - and still don't have - sufficiently trained numbers and the right force mix to cope with the growing mess on the ground.

* There wasn't an effective plan to deal with the looting, rioting and civil disorder or the early insurgent attacks. Army and Marine skippers in Iraq from company to division tried to put out four-alarm fires without sufficient force, equipment and logistics. Crisis management prevailed.

* Iraqi police, civil-defense corps, the regular army and border-patrol units - which could have prevented much of the chaos and civil disobedience that followed - were precipitously disbanded. [...]

Our president says he's not big on reading newspapers. But perhaps former librarian Laura will share this column with her husband and suggest he follow Harry Truman's example of firing his inept SecDef when the Korean War was going badly.
Thanks, Jer